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Monday, July 14, 2008

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Couldn't agree more

No question he is the most slighted player from the All-Star team.

Second in all of baseball in WPA, fourth in WPA/LI, 6th in OPS, 5th in RC/27.

His WPA of 4.65 is first on the Phils. Utley is in second with 1.08. He's first on the Phils in OBP, OPS, and RC/9, as well.

Here's the question. Right now he's hitting .275/.404/.575 in 386 PA. From 2006-2008, he's basically batted .260/.400/.502 on the dot.

What would he have to bat in the second half to end with his standard line since 2006?

The good news is that from July 4th of last year until the end of the season he hit .303/.426/.610 in 319 PA. So maybe he won't find his career line at the end of this year but only continue the production he started last summer at this time.

Agree totally Jason. Pat deserved to be an All Star and has shown remarkable consistency throughout the first half of the season. I hope he continues in the second half.

He totally deserves this.

Another piece in the Burrell celebration (and perhaps more evidence that he figured something out last summer). This season's splits:

HOME: .246/.371/.455
AWAY: .308/.440/.712

His career at CBP: .278/.405/.526

Since 2004 away from CBP:

04: .231/.336/.399
05: .269/.358/.447
06: .254/.383/.517
07: .220/.370/.424

National commentators for some reason feel obligated to mention Utley as in the MVP running, but the guy has batted .260 for over 2 months now. I fully expect him to pick it up, but since April ended he's only been a very good player, certainly not great and definitely not in the elite Pujols/Berkman/Chipper category.

And earning Beerleaguer MVP is one of the highest honors bestowed upon professional athletes, in the world.

"and perhaps more evidence that he figured something out last summer)...."

I have to agree with this. When I first came onto this sight, I was pretty much a Burrell basher - because I thought that his performance at the end of last season was a fluke.

No matter whether I disagree with most BLers about his career prior to the middle of last year, I think everyone would agree that something about that dude changed one year ago. Anyone want to provide a theory as to what?

>>No matter whether I disagree with most BLers about his career prior to the middle of last year, I think everyone would agree that something about that dude changed one year ago. Anyone want to provide a theory as to what?<<

Pending free agency?

Maybe he's seeing the ball better. Maybe it was a confidence issue or maybe he truly was having foot problems. Maybe he finally figured out how people were trying to pitch him. Or it was that he got married last November - meaning he was probably engaged quite a few months before and he cut out his semi-legendary nighttime activities?? Now they say he walks his dog in Old City and that's about it.

flipper: Healthy.

Seriously... Pat has battled foot and wrist injuries for at least a year before his resurgance.

I wonder how many RBIs PtB would have if two guys in the top 6 in the league weren't batting directly in front of him?

"I wonder how many RBIs PtB would have if two guys in the top 6 in the league weren't batting directly in front of him?"

Of if Feliz weren't batting behind him.

Which does speak to the one fault I still find with Burrell - that sometimes he still looks to be taking a walk instead of being more aggressive. I'm not saying that he should swing wildly, but I think he would get more RBI if he were more aggressive.

If his current stats were to project to his season ends numbers, it would be his best season ever. Considering he is 31 years old and technically into the decline phase of his career, one would have to say it is an anomaly.

Whats weird is his BA/BIP, P/PA, LD% and even OBP to an extend are all consistent with past years of his career.

The only REALLY significant difference is HR/F. Career it is about 15.5% of his flyballs went for HR. This year its 18.8%. Thats a pretty big uptick and goes a long way to explaining his vastly increased SLG which is where the vast majority of his improved line has come from.

When HR/F goes up drasticly, it usually means the player has either gotten a lot stronger, the parks he plays in have gotten smaller or its a lucky/small sample size aberration.


Flipper: Contrary to popular belief the concept of batting order "protection" is largely BS. There is just very little statistial evidence for this effect.

Also the notion that Burrell walks "too much" is insanity. Aside from dozens of other reasons, simply being good at drawing walks will often force the pitcher to give you a pitch to hit, which in turns translates into more RBI.

So BL consensus is that Burrell won't find his way to 260/.400/.502 by the end of the year?

This year certainly looks different for him, considering his splits. Even his RHP/LHP splits are different:

Career: .829 OPS against RHP, .947 against LHP.
2008: 1.010 OPS againt RHP, .909 against LHP

PtB has never been the fans' favorite. If you ask any Phillies fan, "Who is your favorite Phillie?", you'll get the names of Utltley, Hamels or Howard. At least this year, PtB will make your top five. In year's past, he was in many fans bottom five.

flipper: You mean like when he fouled off ball four against Brian Wilson so that he could crush a game winning home run on the next pitch? Or on the Jose Valverde homer to come back against the Astros? Rockies game winner maybe? You're not basing that "fault" on anything recently, but on inside corner strike threes of years past.

CJ: And I think the issue is those guys have home runs as such a high percentage of their hits. Also, doesn't help that Howard isn't walking.

We can only pray that Myers is the second half MVP.

Sophist: To maintain any sort of consistency with his position after last season ended, clout pretty much has to come out and predict that Burrell will end the season very close to a .900 OPS.

"There is just very little statistial evidence for this effect."

I don't care what statistics say, with Feliz batting behind him, there's no way that pitchers don't pitch around Burrell more often than if he was followed by a better hitter.

Statistics aggregate all situations, and so their applicability to any one given situation can be somewhat limited.

Also, my "gut" tells me that still, at times, Burrell is less aggressive than I'd like in key situations. I know that over the long haul, as a team, OBP is a key stat. But again, aggregating that stat looses something in specific circumstances. I think that Burrell is more aggressive than in the past, but every now and then he seems to take too many pitches in key situations. That said, overall, I'm not complaining about how he's played over the past calendar year.

Sophist- In order to determine if PTB's current numbers are legit and sustainable, I think we need to determine the cause of his increased HR/F%.

Is it strength? A strange schedule+park effect? Luck/Wind?

HR/F% is the reason his SLG and in turn OPS is so much higher (though his OBP is slightly up, but not on increased P/AB. odd?).

Thoughts?

Brian G:

I'm saying that as I see it, admittedly a "gut" reaction, Burrell has been much more aggressive in the past year. Maybe I'm being too hard on him because of my bias from years past, but I feel like I've seen it occasionally this year also.

Lots of folks get on Howard because of his high strikeout totals, but the fact that he strikes out so much correlates with an aggressive attitude, and also correlates with his high number of RBI.

PhillR: As I've heard many times over the last calendar year... Burrell has a new approach at the plate. Especially this year, he's been much more aggressive. His mastery of the strike zone allows him to identify pitches he can drive.

Flipper- How do you know though that this increased patience, decreased "aggression" that you assert exists is not in fact the cause of his increased SLG and HR total? He may very well get more to hit simply because pitchers know he is so likely to walk?

As for your argument on statistics and aggregation. It just reveals a fundamental lack of statistical understanding. If in fact it is true as you assert that a weak batter behind a strong batter leads to less pitches to hit (ie more walks) then we should be able to measure this correlation. This is something that is only bourne out in extreme cases like Pujols and Bonds, and is generally just not happening.

Example: PTB's P/PA is the same as last year. If pitchers were pitching around him because of Feliz, this would be up. Its not.

flipper: Actually... Howard's strike outs this year have less to do with being aggressive and more to do with his inability to identify pitches down and in and down and away that he can't hit. It also makes him tentative to swing at strikes on the outside corner.

Howard is not striking out because he's "too aggressive." Like Burrell, Howard has to get better at identifing hittable pitches.

Maybe, Brian G. There's always room for nuance.

PhillR - Burrell's numbers are very similar to his 2006 numbers in the statistics you cite. His LD% is 2006 was 20.9 (20.6% this year); his HR/FB was 17.6% (18.8% this year.) His GB% is 2% higher this year.

One big difference between 2006 and 2008. .222 BA/RISP in 2006. .288 this year.

About HR/FB, I don't know. 15 of his 23 HR are on the road this year. Here's hit-tracker's breakdown of his HR:

http://www.hittrackeronline.com/detail.php?id=2008_2527&type=hitter

They have 2007 and prior years in there as well.

CJ: Im not sure what you mean by more "aggressive". This to me would imply that his willingness to go after questionable pitches is up, but in fact his P/AB is the same as 07 and his OBP is up.

Also his IF/F ("well hit" balls, ie line drives) is up only very slightly, however his HR/F is up drastically. So basicly, the number of line drives he is hitting is roughly the same, but the percentage of them that go for HR is way up. This doesn't correlate with a more aggressive plate approach to me unless I misunderstood your use of "aggressive".


Sophist, its true that his HR/F% is on 1.2 points higher then 06, however compared to his career average it is up more then double that. 3.3points seems like a big increase to me, and is certainly the biggest difference for him between this year and the rest of his career.

PhillR:

Seriously, bro', don't preach to me about "fundamental lack of understanding" statistics, OK? If you want to go into clout territory, go for it, but you have no idea about what I do or don't know about statistics.

"If in fact it is true as you assert that a weak batter behind a strong batter leads to less pitches to hit (ie more walks) then we should be able to measure this correlation."

You fail to control for many variable in that statement. Fewer pitches to hit doesn't necessarily lead to more walks, and certainly doesn't necessarily lead to more P/PA. That would depend on what Burrell does. If he's more aggressive this year than in the past, then comparing P/PA from previous years becomes a confounding variable.

You may think that pitchers don't pitch to Burrell more carefully because of Feliz, as opposed to a hitter with a higher batting average, OBP, and OPS. Fine. But statistics don't "prove" it one way or the other.

PhillR: I mean his swings are aggressive... as opposed to defensive. If you're only making contact, you're not likely hitting pitches over the wall. He's strong enough to hit a line drive with his "defensive" swings... but when he's identifying good pitches to hit and swinging aggressively, those fly balls and line drives have a much better chance of going over the wall.

CJ:

I wasn't comparing Howard this year to Howard last year. I'm simply saying that there is a fine line in determining how "aggressive" a hitter should be at the plate.

PhillR:

What CJ said.

Also, fangraphs keeps track of plate discipline stats.

From 2005-2007, Burrell swing at pitches outside the zone ~15% of the time. This year he swings at those pitches 20% of the time.

In 2006 and 2007, Burrell swing at balls in the zone 58-60% of the time. This year he's swinging at them 64% of the time.

His contact with outside pitches:

2005: 39%
2006: 49%
2007: 55%
2008: 67.5%

His contact with pitches in the zone is roughly the same since 2005 (~80%.)

It would be nice to see what his BA/OBP/SLG is against these pitches, but they don't provide that data. In any case, this backs up the aggressiveness argument. He's swinging at more balls outside and making more contact with them. He's swinging at more strikes and maintaining his past contact with them.

PhillR - 18.8% is still a big number for him. I was just providing the 2006 datapoint to make 2008 not seem like such a big increase. Plus, the 15% career number includes years where CBP wasn't his home park.

THT doesn't keep statistics past 2004, but fangraphs does. They do appear to be different than THT's though. They have him at 20.9% this year and 17% for his career, so roughly the same increase. They list his pre-CBP 2003 ratio as 12.6%. I imagine THT would only have it lower. That drags his career number a bit.

PHillR:

What Sophist said.

Ok flipper- Here: http://www.baseball1.com/bb-data/grabiner/protstudy.html


Anyway the conclusion is:
"The players hit slightly better when *not* protected. In 5092 protected
AB, the difference would be two points of batting average and fifteen
points of slugging average, and in 7407 unprotected AB, it would be one
point of batting average and ten points of slugging average. The
overall difference is thus three points of BA and 26 points of SLG (not
25 because of rounding)"

Sophist: Great numbers there.

His home run yesterday, for example, was a pitch out of the zone. I don't know if he was looking low and away or not, but he went down, got it, and hit it hard.

On the explanation for him being more aggressive, I buy that. You anticipated my question Sophist, what is SLG on this out of zone swings? I am looking for that data now.

@CJ -- How many RBIs would PtB have if Howard's BB hadn't dropped?

PhillR:

I took your word for it on statistical averages. But my statement stands: they can't "prove" anything about the specific situation we're talking about. There are way too many uncontrolled variables involved.

PhillR: flipper is right. Although I don't generally belive in the concept of lineup protection, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist in some cases. And you can't really find any statistics that will "prove" it either way. It's very possible that players like Pedro Feliz have provided PtB will even fewer pitches to hit, but I'm not sure myself.

mike: Absolutely!

@flipper -- So Sophist's stats about swings at pitches in and out of the zone indicate that Burrell is more agressive this year than previous years???

Unless you are Cholly, the gut is not as right as people think.

HR/FB doesn't explain everything either. Burrell's on pace to hit 36 2B this year and 3 triples. He's only 5 doubles away from his total from all of 2007. He hasn't hit 36 doubles since 2002, his best year in the league (.282/.376/.544 with 37 HR and 39 2B.)

Flipper: Here is one more:

http://www.sabernomics.com/sabernomics/index.php/2004/09/the-protection-externality-it-doesnt-exist/

Im not sure what uncontrolled variables you think are being specifically ignored in the Burrell/Feliz case.

"The results lead us to not only reject the protection hypothesis, but also we find evidence that good on-deck hitters actually harm the hit and power probabilities of the current batter. This is consistent with the effort hypothesis. However, the magnitude of the spillover is tiny and for all practical purposes the effect is zero. Even very good (bad) hitters have only a very small impact on the batters who precede them.

“But what about [insert possible excluded variable]?” Well, we controlled for a heck of lot of potential outside influences: platoon effects of the batter and the on-deck batter, the base/out configuration, the quality of the pitcher, the score differential, the inning of the game, and the park in which the game was played. Given the number of observations we are convinced that protection is a myth; it doesn’t exist."

mike - What do you think those numbers about Burrell's plate discipline indicate?

I would agree, 100% with that choice.

PhillR:

Well, one is right there in the middle of your post: "This is consistent with the effort hypothesis..."

Without reading up on the whole thing, it appears that their main explanation is that in general, a hitter tries harder when there's a slug hitting behind him. That might be true as a statistical average, but may not hold true for any given player.

Also, without reading up on the whole thing, it is really hard to believe that they can successfully control for all variables. How, exactly, do they define "protection?" Is it based on the second batters BA, or OPS? What is their cut-off point? Does Feliz's low OPS, as opposed to another theoretical 6th batter, fall outside of that cut-off range?

For the last time, PhillR, although I'm skeptical, I'm not arguing about the merits of the statistical averages. But even in your own post they suggest a variable that is impossible to control - the human psychology of effort.

Gotta run, PhillR. Save yourself the effort of doing more research.

Re: Mets and Phillies schedules

The Mets have played 11 more games against the dreadful NL West than the Phils while the Phils have played 15 more games against the much tougher NL Central. The Mets also had the advantage in interleauge play, getting two series with the Yankees (50-45) and one with Seattle (37-58) while the Phils faced Toronto (47-48), Boston (57-40) and Oakland (51-44).

Interleague play is over, so that's an advantage the Mets will maintain. The rest of the schedule will even out. While the Phils will get more 2nd half games against the NL West, the Mets will get more against the NL Central.

Not sure if anyone saw Keith Law's write up on the Futures Game. Some Phils related items:

Jason Donald, SS, Philadelphia: Donald could probably play shortstop every day for somebody in 2009, and certainly could handle second base. He's not going to hit for power, but has a good approach and squares balls up well. He has an average arm, which might be stretched on plays to his right at short, but handles the 4-6-3 double play very well. (Law listed Donald as one of the 10 who impressed in the game.)

A handful of players didn't live up to advance billing. Lou Marson was fine behind the plate, but didn't square balls up and repeatedly hit balls on the ground, even in BP. … Regular-season teammate Greg Golson showed again that his approach at the plate is atrocious, with a very long swing and poor pitch recognition, and he had two very bad reads in left field during the game. ... Carlos Carrasco was 90-94, throwing slightly across his body with poor command, and he didn't throw a breaking ball in his inning of work. He did come out of a July 1 start after two warm-up pitches, complaining of shoulder soreness.

Let's be fair. When you say we've played more games against the AL Central, we're talking 8 total games against the three good teams. We've had lots of games against Houston and Cincinatti, two teams that could fit in the NL West seamlessly.

The Mets have actually played one more games against the Cubs, Brewers, and Cardinals than we have.

How about these comments from Baseball Prospectus's Joe Sheehan about our Greg Golson at yesterday's Futures Game. OUCH!

"Greg Golson, Phillies, OF. You could actually see his trade value collapsing during the game. Golson has had the best season of his professional life, fooling some people into seeing him as a prospect. He's not. He swings at everything, he's an awkward outfielder and he doesn't do anything else well enough to make up for those traits. The Phillies have about nine minutes to turn him into something of value, because by the end of the season, he'll have been exposed again."

You know what I love? His perfect fielding percentage. Yet out-of-town and national announcers, and some posters here, bemoan Pat's fielding as a "liability."

Dude has a gun and plays the wall very, very well.

How many RBI would Burrell have if he didn't hit behind NL's RBI leader? Why does every single friggin thread talk about Howard's on base percentage?

What do you think about the batting order? Would you make any changes?

I think either: a)Werth should bat 2nd or b) Utley should bat 5th.
Werth's on base percentage and ability to work the count would be much more valuable at the top of the order, especially before Utley. Splitting up Werth and Burrell would also be a good idea, since both are patient 6'5" right-handed hitters with pop.

Or Burrell and Utley could be switched in the lineup, at least temporarily. Utley is still pressing; he's just not himself. Utley might see better pitches after Howard and before Werth.

Before Utley's emergence as a slugger, I thought he should bat 2nd. Maybe taking Chase out of those run producing situations, in which he struggles anyway, would allow him to relax and regain his stroke.

NorthernLibs: The Reds, Pirates and Astros would all be in third place in the NL West and none would be more than 3 games out of that division lead. Even the bad teams in the NL Central are much better than the bad teams in the NL West.

CJ, forgetting that the mets also played the angels and rangers?

Swindler: So did we. But thanks for the update.

The only reason I don't fear the Mets running away with this division and the reason I feel it will be a dogfight to the end is because the Mets have too many injury problems/concerns. Maine has only gotten through 3-4 innings in his last couple of outings and Pedro almost certainly will be on the DL again at some point.

I'm not saying the Phillies are better than the Mets or the Marlins. Each team most certainly has holes with the Phils being pitching. They need to make a move before the deadline to show some dedication to the rest of the team as well as the fans.

Jose Reyes is the first player in Major League history to have 10 HR, 20 2B, 10 3B and 30 stolen bases before the All Star break.

but burrell is BY FAR the biggest snub? ok.

CJ, you're arguing over teams that would rightly be fighting over last place in any division. The Astros, Red, Pirates, Padres, Giants, and Rockies are all pretty damned bad. To distinguish between any of them at this point is pretty silly.

Look, I really want the Phillies to win the division. But trying to make ourselves feel better by pretending the Mets had a cakewalk schedule is not going to do it. What we need to do is realize they're even up with us now so that means our team has to get better. Somehow.

right, CJ, but i'm not selectively choosing teams from the phillies interleague schedule to make it look weak

Swindler: Ryan Howard leads the league in HR and RBI. The first player since 1948 to do so and not make the team. And he's not even the biggest snub on his own team.

So, yes, Pat Burrell is the biggest snub in the league. Isn't there some inane discussion of a Xavier Nady trade over at Metsblog that you can jump into? Thanks for visiting. I'm done feeding the trolls now.

Swindler: You're clueless.

The point isn't how tough the entire interleague schedule was. The point is that the Mets was easier. Which can be determined by looking at teams that WEREN'T on both schedules.

Is that concept so difficult to understand?

LOL @ citing RBI in the allstar discussion.

i like how you label anyone that disagrees with you using perfectly logical points a "troll."

Are there any Phillies fans here posting today?

"Look, I really want the Phillies to win the division. But trying to make ourselves feel better by pretending the Mets had a cakewalk schedule is not going to do it. "

even a fellow phan sees the futility of this line of thought.

Sorry, I'm a Phillies fan with a little bit of a thin skin towards blind fanboyism.

NorthernLibs: Perhaps the problem is that you're jumping into the middle of a discussion. At the very beginning, I looked at how the last few weeks compared, and it was clear, by winning percentage, that the Mets had an easier schedule. In that post, I said:

"Of course, the question unanswered (since I haven't looked) is whether the last month and a half is a correction from the start or the season or whether the schedule will turn in our favor.

Either way, it's a race. And we have to win our head-to-head matchups!"

Sophist followed it up by suggesting that it was somewhat of a correction, but in comparing non-shared opponents this season, the Mets have an opp win % of .444 and the Phils have an opp win % of .478.

It has been easier, but not significantly so. I attribute that to the Mets larger number of games against the dreadful NL West.

You can call it "blind fanboyism" if you want... but if you've been around this list for any length of time, you'll find I rarely fit that description.

and you can also add Ks to Howard's resume...

NothernLibs: I'm no blind fanboy--I wasn't in on the schedule discussion as you could well see. I don't argue schedules, because they even out over a long period. Some teams play down to the level of their competition, some teams can't beat the good teams, some teams slump at certain times when you play them, some are hot at some times...so I don't ever think that argument holds water.

My comment was aimed at the fact that there seem to be an inordinate number of Met fans on this board these days, and I guess if I were a Met fan I'd rather be high-fiving other Met fans for my team's spectacular 9-game stretch than listening to Phillies fans bemoan their lack of pitching...but whatever floats their boats, I guess.

doubleh: Like I said, nothing like a 9-game winning streak to bring the Mets trolls out from under the bridge. They wouldn't have dared stop by a month ago. It's okay... that's what happens when you're the big dog... the little dogs come yapping!

Ryan Howard=Adam Dunn

Take Howard out of CBP and hes Richie Sexson. That joke of a ballpark is all hes got. Burrell did deserve to make the all star team but not over reyes or wright..have u watched that joke play the field? it had to factor in somewhat..ive watched every philly game this yr and the amount of series you guys have missed the opposing teams top 2 pitchers is amazing. I think youve faced an ace 7 or 8 times in over 90 games.

I guess I'm alone in that Howard's k's don't bother me so much as long as he's hitting good pitches or seeing the ball well. I'd rather him SO than hit into a DP. When he's on a roll, he's a majestic sight to behold.

I don't think Howard and Burrell were as big of snubs as Hamels was, but I'm glad for Cole to get the rest.

Well, I guess if you're a Met fan, would you want to come in here when you're a losing team or a winning team? :)

I completely agree with you, doubleh, that's my opinion exactly. Schedules even out over the course of the season. If not, would the Mets have the argument that they should have won last year (they had by far a tougher interleague schedule)? I don't think so and, at the same time, I don't think we have any excuses this year as well.

i guess howard's BA doesn't bother anyone either

No, it doesn't. Seems to bother you, though.

Jose Reyes is the first player in Major League history to have 10 HR, 20 2B, 10 3B and 30 stolen bases before the All Star break.

This is about as arbitrary as Rollins' 20-20-20-20 last year.

nah, i love it

I have a hunch you're not "loving" his RBIs/HRs.

CJ: That was discussed thoroughly two threads ago.

If Jason Donald can really play shortstop in the major leagues, should Phillies consider trading J-Roll this offseason?

The biggest reason I see not to trade Rollins, is his leadership. He's clearly the leader of the clubhouse. That being said, every aspect of the 07 MVP's game appears to have diminished this season, to the point where Donald could be a viable alternative at SS. Look at this list of 2009 free agent shortstops: Orlando Cabrera, David Eckstein, Adam Everett, Rafael Furcal, Cristian Guzman, Cesar Izturis, Felipe Lopez, Edgar Renteria...

Guzman is playing better than Rollins right now, but Rollins could represent the best available player at the position. J-Roll wouldn't fetch as much as Tejada did, but he's worth more than Renteria, and Juergens has been Atlanta's best pitcher this year.

Something to think about...J-Roll will make about 9 million next year, but appears to have lost bat speed and range at shortstop. Donald is a more patient hitter than Rollins will ever be and their defensive capabilities aren't as far off as they seem.

props for the RBI.

but yea, i hate a lot of HRs at CBP, including those two monster shots yesterday.

Baxter, just stop.

baxter: Donald doesn't have the range to play SS everyday at the major league level.

As long as Howard's OBP is above .360 and he hits 40+ HR, I don't care about his BA or Ks.

A K is no worse then any other out.

Ryan Howard Home Run Splits (Career):

HOME: 79
AWAY: 78


baxter: "J-Roll wouldn't fetch as much as Tejada did"

Actually he'd fetch much much more.

" Look at this list of 2009 free agent shortstops: Orlando Cabrera, David Eckstein, Adam Everett, Rafael Furcal, Cristian Guzman, Cesar Izturis, Felipe Lopez, Edgar Renteria... "

So we should trade him when there's already a glut of free agent shortstops on the market?

"...their defensive capabilities aren't as far off as they seem."

Yes, they are.

Give Rollins a break. First of all, he was probably a little over his head last season. Most MVP seasons are. Second of all, you really think that ankle is 100% at this point? That's gotta be sapping his power.

Even if you consider his MVP season above what Rollins really is, you'd be hard pressed what he DOES gives you on a regular basis with almost any minor league shortstop.

Howard is a career .760 OPS hitter vs LHP. This year, its at .608, which is below everyone in the starting lineup including Ruiz, Hamels, Eaton, and Durbin, although the pitchers obviously have small sample sizes. Imagine if he wasn't batting 4th vs them. Versus righties, he's been stellar this year, better than Chase and second only to Burrell.

SPINK-

Burrell has a 1.000 fielding percentage this year. That means he has caught EVERY SINGLE BALL he has gotten to. He also has an above-average to great arm. The only complaint is that he is not very fast. But he plays the wall very well and if he can get to it he is going to catch it. Someone who has watched every Phils game should be able to notice this.

Wally - its actually more arbitrary because "before the allstar break" is a measurement that includes a different number of games each year.

This is brutal. We need to all agree on a secret Beerleaguer meeting location during Mets winning streaks. Its throwing off the Ph of the site. There was long ago a nice balance struck between the pessimists and the realists (optomists need not apply)

Yeah, but Howard has only faced 7 or 8 aces while playing on the road.

I hate that CBP was designed the way that it was for so many reasons, but most of all for the fact that ownership saw what happened in the juiced-up 90's in that the long ball put lots of b*tts in seats and that's their only goal. Well, now players can't *legally* juice anymore, so they have to build the stadiums in such a way to encourage balls to leave the stadium. CBP is not the worst of the ballparks, however; at least not this year.

Second reason I hate the dimensions is because free agent pitchers don't want to come to Philly or they have NTC with Philly on the list.

Other than that, it's a beautiful park and the sightlines are great. PNC Park is probably my favorite of any park I've been to.

Brian G: I guess you think it's a novel concept, suggesting that a veteran player will end up close to his career numbers, but it really isn't. When flipper and everyone else were saying Burrell was washed up last year, I simply stated conventional wisdom: he'll end up close to his career numbers. While this may have been astonishing to Beerleaguer posters, I can assure you it's not a unqiue perspective at all. Most veteran players perform close to career norms. Which suggests his .979 OPS will be closer to .900 than 1.000 by season's end.

Honestly, with Ryan, I don’t worry about the batting average or the strike outs or his subpar defense. The one thing I worry about is this: 112 OPS+. That just isn’t doing it from the cleanup spot. I worry this means his RBI output can’t hold up unless he does some serious maintenance.

from the district--good point. I wouldn't dispute that Reyes is having a very very good year, but it seems ridiculous to have to quantify that by saying, uh, he's the first to have 20-30-14-7-9. But how many times has he brought his mother flowers? I think that should be factored into AS votes.

Stop feeding the trolls. They thrive on argument.

On Burrell, Sophist said:

"In any case, this [increasing percentage of contact with outside pitches] backs up the aggressiveness argument. He's swinging at more balls outside and making more contact with them...."

No necessarily; you showed only percentages. Do the data show a steady number of outside pitches, or have pitchers thrown more inside over the past four years? My guess is pitchers stopped trying to get him out with the slider when he learned to lay off it, and started getting him out with that inside-edge strike. It might be that he's hitting the same number of outside pitches, just not swinging at the ones outside. Maybe he finally learned how to see the little red dot.

b-r.com says Jose Reyes has brought his mom flowers on TWICE this season.

:)

DOB: I love that the rest of the world thinks Burrell is horrible defensively so they continue to run on him and test his arm. He doesn't have a cannon, but he's strong and very accurate.

"Mets' month of August:

Astros, Padres, Marlins, Pirates (1) , Nationals, Pirates (4), Braves, Astros (4), Phillies (2), Marlins

A very easy month"


Geez, are the Mets now the 58' Yankees?

The Mets are an old, mentally fragile, baseball team. They have gotten fat the past week and a half against one team that was struggling to beat anyone (the Phils), and 2 pitiful, dead-on-their-feet teams, who can't hit for crap (the Giants and Rocks).

The Mets aren't anywhere near good enough, for anyone to start saying an ENTIRE MONTH, should be easy pickings. The Mets have proven over and over and over again the past few years, that they tend to play in spurts and lose games and series, they should never lose on paper. Their September (filled with juggernauts like Washington, Florida and St. Louis) last year sure wasn't "easy". They had series laid out for them on a platter, and lost game after game, against dead teams.

The Phils have just gone through their toughest stretch of their schedule. They may have one more semi-down stretch, but they also have a big hot streak coming. We all know Rollins hot streak is coming. We all know Utley (who hasn't hit much for a month) is going to get warm. Myers is coming back guns a blazing, to prove his worth. You can see a Phils streak coming, where they win 10 out of 12 and stretch out the lead again. Their August schedule is very condusive to getting rolling, especially against some weak pitching staffs. The Phils have proven for years now, that they don't start really playing until August 1. The Mets or Marlins better have some sort of lead on August 1, or they are in big trouble. And, if the Phils make a solid trade or 2, that will also be a big bump for them.

You can make the point that the Phils have already gone as low as they are going to go, and they are still in first place. They won their past 2 series going into the break. You can see some momentum building for the 2nd half.

The most mentally tough team will get it done in August and September, when it counts. By and large, the same cast of characters are going to play this out again in 2008. I like the Phils chances, if it comes down to the mentally toughest team winning.

"He's swinging at more balls outside and making more contact with them....""

I have to agree with Alby's position. I can't see why making contact with outside pitches is going to help Burrell since he's essentially a dead pull hitter. His ability to lay OFF them is actually more important.

In that case, I consider his homerun yesterday to actually be an outlier and a fluke to what has made him so good this season. He actually hit a bad ball out of the park yesterday when, in reality, what he's been doing is waiting for GOOD pitches to hit out of the park.

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